NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Golden Knights vs. Penguins (January 17)
Amanda Cain/NHLI. Pictured: Penguins players celebrate a goal.
- Pittsburgh finishes a six-game road trip on Monday in Las Vegas.
- The game is close to a pick'em, despite the Golden Knights struggling with Eastern Conference teams this season.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick below.
Golden Knights vs. Penguins Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-105|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Pittsburgh will head to Vegas for an excellent showdown between two of the league’s best to face a Knights team that will be excited to get back on the ice. It’s been six days since Vegas suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto.
Vegas has not fared as well this season against Eastern Conference playoff teams as it has against the West and Pacific. Will we see that trend continue here?
Penguins Look to End Road Swing Well
Pittsburgh has stumbled to an extent so far on this road swing, with just a 2-2-0 record after lighting the league on fire all month previous to that.
It will look to finish with a big effort in Vegas and for the offensive unit to be deadly at full-health. It must have a better effort here than we saw in San Jose on a notable off night, although the team did manage to scrape out a 2-1 overtime victory.
Over the last 30 days the Pens have posted a dominant 58.05 xGF% with a notably high 3.35 xGF/60 rate and an average of 4.00 goals for per game where it matters.
This isn’t a surprising mark when you look at the talent on hand. I think that this two-game lull in Los Angeles and San Jose is nothing more than a natural down moment in a long season, in a league offering so much parity and closeness night to night.
As well, the team will receive a notable boost with Bryan Rust heading out of COVID protocol. He could be skating in this contest at as close to full health as we have seen all season, should the Penguins avoid some late scratches tomorrow, as are always possible these days.
Tristan Jarry should likely start having rested Saturday in San Jose, and he has bounced back with a strong season, posting a mark of +15.3 goals saved above expected with a .929 save % throughout 29 games played this season.
Vegas Golden Knights
Monday’s contest will offer a great opportunity for Vegas to help trend towards some consistency, as it looks to settle into top form gearing up for what will hopefully be a deep playoff run this season.
Vegas has posted just a 1-2-2 record over its last five contests, and it has dropped off to an extent offensively over that time frame. It is now settling into life yet again without Max Pacioretty, who was quietly in unbelievable form this season.
With that said, Vegas has still produced a 2.80 xGF/60 over that time frame, and it could possibly have fared better in a 2-1 loss to Chicago and 3-2 loss to Nashville on home ice.
As well, those losses came short captain Mark Stone, and this Vegas team still has a number of notably strong offensive producers, both up front and on the back end, even without Max Pacioretty. It will be very exciting to see Jack Eichel join this up-tempo offense in the coming weeks.
Robin Lehner has been solid again this season, with a +3.2 goals saved above expected mark with a .905 save % throughout 27 games played, and he should draw the start Monday.
Penguins vs. Golden Knights Pick
Pittsburgh’s offense has been underwhelming the last two times out, but I wouldn’t count on its production stalling too often as the season rolls along.
A trip to Vegas offers the Penguins a better chance to turn the offense around more than you might expect, as Lehner and crew have allowed an average of 3.33 goals against per game over their last nine home contests.
This to me isn’t just a fluky trend, as the Knights love to play a notably aggressive and up-tempo style, even more so on home ice. A few goals against is par for the course with how this team likes to play, as well as the fact that it could possibly be less sharp than normal, even after a six-day layoff entering this contest.
Vegas has also given up a notably higher goals-against average against the Eastern Conference playoff teams this year, which I believe also actually has some causation outside of just randomness. Those clubs are more offensively talented on average than much of West and specifically Pacific Division. I think we could see that continue here.
So while I see this as a good spot for Pittsburgh to break through with a bigger offensive night than we have seen over a small two-game lull as it adjusts to having Evgeni Malkin back in the lineup, it will be hard for it to keep Vegas entirely in check. I think that there’s a good chance we end up seeing both teams reach three goals and cash this over for us.
I lean towards Pittsburgh as as side, but my favorite play is on the game total to go over 6 at -110, as well as a half-unit on the Pens team total to go over 2.5 at -135.
Pick: Over 6 -110 | Play to -125
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